Johnson has been using a 3-5-2 formation during pre-season and is set for a departure from his usual 4-4-2 shape for the new campaign.
He said: “I’ve played this system at some of my previous clubs and it’s something we’ve been working on in training during pre-season.
“It’s a system which can mess up the opposition and we can keep the ball a lot better.”
Johnson’s son Lee is struggling through illness so new signing Paul Hartley is set for a debut in midfield while Dean Gerken could make his first start in goal.
Another new boy Danny Haynes should start in attack alongside Nicky Maynard, with Scotland international David Clarkson another option.